Michigan Takes a Step Back With New Abortion Law


Fernando Rojo

Protestors stand outside the Michigan Capitol building Dec. 2012.

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, the Michigan Congress passed a new law on insurance coverage for abortions. The law will ban coverage for abortions under The Affordable Care Act and most private insurers, forcing women to purchase an additional rider to cover abortions.

The reason this law was suggested and passed is to allow anti-abortion taxpayers to opt out of paying for abortion procedures. Last year, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill, but Right to Life of Michigan gathered 300,000 signatures on a petition for a re-vote. After passing in both the Michigan House and Senate on Dec. 11, it is a law, effective in March 2014.

But the problem with this law is that people who want abortions are only able to purchase the extra coverage before they become pregnant. Women who want or need abortions will not be able to purchase the rider after they are pregnant, even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

This forces women to plan ahead for pregnancies, which is not always possible, especially if the pregnancy is the result of a rape. This is not okay.

Making a rape victim pay for an abortion out of pocket after going through a traumatic experience is the opposite of what she needs. Many people have started to call this law “Rape Insurance” because it is, in essence, planning ahead for rape, which no woman should have to do.

Additionally, women who are not able to afford the separate rider may have no way of paying for an abortion, and may be forced to carry a pregnancy resulting from rape to term. Some women may not be able to support the children they are forced to bear.

Roe v. Wade gave women the right to choose. However, this bill isn’t about the legality of abortion. It’s about who pays for abortion. In situations where women can’t pay, that choice is being taken from them.